Cornus Mas, the cornelian cherry dogwood, is a small deciduous tree with bright yellow blooms. Cornus mas makes good shrubs or hedging plants, and is known for its edible berries. Find Facts and information on caring and growing the cornelian cherry dogwood tree, and some of the varieties available.
Cornus Mas Facts and Description
Cornus mas, the European Cornel, is a species of dogwood that is commonly named the Cornelian cherry in North America. It belongs to the family Cornaceae, and the genus Cornus. The Cornelian cherry dogwood is used in shrub borders, as hedges, screens, and as specimen plants. They are widely used for their showy yellow flowers, fruit, and bark.
The tree may grow up to 20’ tall and grows well in Zone 4. It has an rounded shape with an upright, spreading growth habit with dense branching. The branches grow very low to the ground, so you might find the lowest ones barely off the ground. It is originally a native to parts of Europe and Western Asia.
The foliage is dark green, with a glossy leaf surface, while the flowers are a small cluster of 4 yellow petals that form in clusters before the leaves appear. This usually occurs in late March to early April.
Cornus Mas Berries
Cornus mas has bright red fruits that are in a shape similar to an olive with a single seed within each berry. The berry is an edible food often used for syrup and preserves, and is widely popular in European areas. They are from 1/2 to 1” long by 1/2” wide. The berries are also eaten and enjoyed by many birds. The berry is ripe and ready to eat when it becomes dark red or maroon.
Growing Cornus Mas
The tree should be planted where it receives full sun, but can be planted to receive partial shade. Plant in moist, well-drained soil, rich soil. Propagation of the tree is done by either taking cuttings, or by planting seeds. One good point is that the tree is pest resistant.
*Negative Factors: You will find that the low branching can prevent grass from growing directly under the limbs. The berries can be messy or even stain sidewalks. This is also a problem with some crabapple trees and other flowering trees that bear fruit.
Varieties and Species of Cornus Mas
- The edible varieties, ‘Elegant’, ‘Pioneer’, and ‘Redstone’ or increasingly used as a culinary plant. These three cultivars product heavy crops of fruit that are used in syrup and preserves.
- ‘Golden Glory’ is a heavy bloomer with an upright form.
- ‘Flava’ produces earlier fruit crops than others and has yellow fruit.
- ‘Spring Glow’ has great looking foliage and bright yellow blooms, with a rounded form. Also exhibiting the same characteristics is ‘Spring Sun’, or ‘Spring Grove’.
- Elegantissima, ‘Aureo-elegantissima’, has leaves that are edged in pink or yellow, but will loose much of the color later in the season. It is a smaller and weaker variety than some of the others.